By Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.
Dear Parishioners and Friends:
Two young women were about to profess their vows as religious sisters. Just before the ceremony began, the presiding Bishop noticed two Rabbis entering the church, insisting on the right side of the center aisle. Of course, the Bishop was curious why two Jewish Rappis were attending a Catholic profession of vows for these women.
After communion, the Bishop publicly welcomed the two Rabbis. He then asked them why they were present at this occasion when the young women were to become the “Brides of Christ.” The elder Rabbi slowly rose to his feet and explained, “We’re representing the family of the groom.”
Thursday, November 9th, is a significant day for the Redemptorist Priests and Brothers as we celebrate another family. It is the birth date of our religious congregation. In 1732 St. Alphonsus founded the Redemptorists in a little Italian town called Scala. This town stands high above the Amalfi Bay, near Naples, Italy. Alphonsus discovered that the shepherds in this area had never heard of Jesus Christ. Alphonsus was determined to bring the Word of God to these abandoned shepherds. Alphonsus founded the Redemptorists to specifically minister to the poor. Today, we are carrying out the dream of Alphonsus.
On Thursday we will also celebrate another special ‘Church’ day. We will celebrate another special ‘Church’ day. We will celebrate The Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. Now, why would we single out one church throughout the world and dedicate a Sunday to this building? Well, it is reported to be one of the oldest churches in Rome. But more importantly, it is the Cathedral of Rome. Since Pope Francis is the Bishop of Rome, St. John Lateran is his Cathedral. Since the Pope is the Shepherd of the Catholic flock worldwide, St. John Lateran is the principal church for all Catholics. Therefore, we devote Sunday to our Church which is a part of all of us.
All of us belong to ‘The Church.’ Our home office is the Vatican. Our Cathedral is not St. Peter’s in the Vatican, but St. John Lateran. But the Church is much more than a building. It is the people, united together in Christ, loving and serving one another.
All of us are connected with one another and together we are connected with St. John Lateran. For most of us, it is a misty connection. We feel much more connected with our localchurch and fellow parishioners. And so it should be. For the Catholic Church is geographically divided into thousands of dioceses, all flowing out of the principal diocese of Rome. In each diocese there are parishes. Within the parish, there is a parish church. Although all Catholics are united with the diocese and the Church in Rome, we feel much more connected with our local diocese and local church.
Sometimes it is difficult to realize that we truly are bigger than our local church. However, in God’s plan, we do belong to a bigger church. We belong to the worldwide diocese and we belong to our local diocese. Because we belong, we are called to help support the works of the Lord in our local church. Each year we have a collection for the worldwide church. It is called ‘Peter’s Pence.’ and each year we have a Fund Drive for our diocesan church. It is called ‘Bishop’s Annual Appeal.’
Now, every 55 years – or so it seems – our diocese conducts an Archdiocesan Capital Campaign. Yes, it was 55 years ago since the last Capital Campaign in San Antonio. The Archdiocese invites all of us to make a three year pledge. The money helps all the ministries in the Archdiocese. The money helps all the ministries in the Archdiocese. The money also helps to restore the older buildings of our parishes. The Archdiocese set the goal for us – $334,000.
If a parish submits a ‘construction or restoration’ plan to the Archdiocese then that parish is entitled to a 40% rebate of the money contributed by that parish to the campaign. We are putting together a restoration plan. The pan includes repairing the roof of the school, replacing the windows in the school and encapsulating the asbestos in the school. The asbestos is in the floor tile. Since we will be under construction we anticipate a 40% rebate.
The parishes throughout the Archdiocese are divided into four groupings or ‘waves.’ Each wave is scheduled to begin the campaign at a different time. For instance, St. Gerard is listed in the second wave and will actively begin the campaign in March, 2018. During the next few months we will be talking about the campaign.
Silence is golden, unless you have kids, then silence is just plain suspicious.
Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.